6 October 2008

Review: SILKS, Dick Francis & Felix Francis

Penguin, 2008, ISBN 978-0-718-15457-8, 368 pages

When defence barrister Geoffrey Mason's client, a really nasty spoilt brat called Julian Trent, gets convicted on 8 counts of assault and bodily harm that Geoffrey knows he is guilty of, he is not disappointed with the result. Julian Trent gets 8 years, but within months the conviction is overturned in the appeal court. Significantly the jury spokesman has reported a miscarriage of justice, that he was threatened by the prosecuting lawyer.

Geoffrey is also an amateur jumps jockey, riding half a ton of horse over five foot fences at 30 miles an hour. Geoffrey and his horse have just become a force to be reckoned with, a successful amateur team. Geoffrey witnesses an altercation between two professional jockeys, and then Scot Barlow is dead and Steve Mitchell is accused of the murder.

Geoffrey does not want to take the case on but finds himself the barrister defending Steve Mitchell. And now a voice on the phone, whom he thinks is Julian Trent, wants him to make sure that his client is found guilty, or else.

This story is interesting on two levels: first of all it is the second novel where Felix Francis has joined his more famous father, Dick. Secondly, much of the action is set in the future, and all of it would have been in the future when the novel was at the publishers waiting to see the light.

SILKS has the appeal that all Dick Francis novels have always had for me. It flows easily with plenty of action and tension. There's a touch of human interest with the developing relationship between Geoffrey and the vet Eleanor. People have been threatened, others have disappeared, one has committed suicide, and its all wrapped around the racing world. This is the stuff that Dick Francis has always been good at and it makes SILKS worth looking for.

My rating: 4.6

Check all the Dick Francis titles at Fantastic Fiction.

4 comments:

Bernadette said...

Interesting Kerrie. Dick Francis was my first ever 'adult' mystery read (although I was only 10 or 11 at the time) and I have read every single book he's written since then. I even managed to buy Enlgish language versions of a couple of his books when I was travelling through Turkey where it was near-impossible to find English language books. Although his books are very formulaic I rather enjoy the characters he comes up with and the research he does on the various careers he gives his protagonists. However, I was very disappointed with the last one he did with his son, Dead Heat, and had thought I might not even bother with this one...but now maybe I will give it a go sometime.

If you're still on the scrounge for a copy of Dead Heat I can loan you my copy at the next book group meeting...I'll need to get it to my mother eventually but she's away for a couple of months so she won't mind :)

Kerrie said...

Thanks Bernadette - that's good. I think his books are formulaic too and SILKS is quite close to the old Sid Halley ones.

DAVID said...

I WAS DISAPPOINTED WHEN NOT FAR INTO THE BOOK I REALISED THE PLOT WAS VERY SIMILAR TO A BBC/ITV TELEVISION DRAMA I HAD SEEN OVER 20 YEARS AGO. I HAVE READ EVERY DICK FRANCIS NOVEL BUT I CAN'T HELP THINKING THAT THIS PLOT HAS JUST BEEN GIVEN A DIFFERENT SLANT

Kerrie said...

I think I have read them all over the years David, but there are similarities between plots, but I've got to the stage that I just tolerate them

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